thoughts for a mommy blog? we'll see

(ps--I wrote this once, then was not pleased so I actually un-published it. If you still got that version somehow, and are wondering why I'm repeating myself, I'm sorry. If you didn't, hooray. this draft is much better.)

Blogs are interesting beasts alright. Has there ever been a better way to journal? Every time I delve into one of those blog-to-book projects, I'm floored at the life history they help create.

However, I do occasionally feel "stuck in the mommy blog" corner, because of course 99% of this blog IS them. I continue to blog regularly first and foremost for the grandparents of these kids. And quite frankly, I'm thankful they're there as the main audience, because I know they'll love every saying, scream, tantrum, adventure I post. But sometimes I'd like to jump out of mommydom, or at least the show-and-tell aspect of mommy blogs, for just a moment, and actually talk about some things.

Because blogs, especially the commenting section of blogs, opens up an entirely new dimension on round-table discussions. I don't have a large readership (not more than about 50), but sometimes I could really use that amount of feedback, for a "class average," if you will.

For instance, a topic I've been going over and over with everyone I know lately is family size.
And I would LOVE to have a "you-the-readers-participate-by-commenting" survey of how many kids you have (or don't have or want to have or have had) and why. And I really mean really why.

Ooo, but when I mention stuff like that, it's like I've jumped out of the comfortable mommy blog space and into something a little uncomfortable. do you really want to comment? Do I really want to hear what you have to say? I'm not sure. :) But as I'm putting together a "most recent" idea of what "my happy family" means, and I'm wondering why I thought the way I thought back whenever I thought it and what has changed to make me think what I think now, I also have wonder if I'm alone in this or if many of you are also carving new ideas out for your own families. It would be cool to discuss a bit, eh? on a comfortable "okay, we're ready to jump just one step beyond mommy blogging for a day" kind of way.

but I'm not sure. So along with it, I'll bust out some Zane-isms, to help make things more normal.

Zane was telling me the other day that in-between robot mode and jet mode, Star Scream looks just like a "rafter." "You know," he explains. "A veloci-rafter!"

And tonight, on the way home from Chipotle ("my favorite place in the whole world!" he says) he said, "Yeah, we should DEFINITELY move to Boulder (CO) someday. Then I can see gigi, grama ross, AND Tim Tebow."

Here's what he does while he waits for us to wake up in the mornings. "I'm just not that good at sleeping!" he claims:

Bus at 7:05 for kindergarten is going to be a breeze for him. For me, not so much.

Whatever makes him happy, you know?

Oh yeah, and one more example of normalcy. I've happened upon a new sewing project: gator 'game day' bags. I plan on making about a dozen, and trying to sell them to one of the 93,000 game goers. You think I can do it?

Really, I just like it because it gave me an excuse to buy gobs of fabric (albeit orange and blue) while in Utah:

(I've got some other projects going there in the back, including a new bag for me in purple, and some dresses for Anniegirl--hence the elastic thread comment from the last post.)

There you have it! Feel free to comment about family size, or not, or whatever. In the meantime, I'll work on being more confident in my steps out of blogging mommydom.


Heather Bigley said…
3 or 4 seems a nice number. at my age though, we'll be lucky if we get 2.

k was an only child and he has sad lonely stories of not having someone to play with amidst all the moves his family made. and there were 3 of us, which helped us survive a lot of the abuse. we could have group therapy in house if we needed.

two seems too insulated. but 3 or 4 seems like the kids would all learn how to share space and toys, etc.
Kjerstin said…
First of all, um. . YEAH people will buy those bags!!! Do you have any idea how many compliments I get on anything you make me, and it doesn't even have the extra bonus of being school colors! :)

You know what my comment about the kids thing is going to be, right? Two hands, two kids. Perfect. For me, but you have to do what's right for your family. :) Sorry, had to do it.

We need to have a real live phone call one day real soon. You're the bomb!!
Jenny said…
Four kids. Two girls, two boys. Too perfect? I wish! It's crazy hard sometimes and crazy fun others. It's getting more hard and more fun as they get older. I always wanted four, and when I had my fourth I felt like our family was complete. Although being on bedrest 4 times and 4 c-sections kinda made it easy to stop. Sometimes I think I must be crazy to have had 4 when I remember how hard pregnancy/birth was!
Jenneka said…
I used to think I'd spend the majority of my child-bearing years doing whatever it took to talk Todd into having more babies. I didn't think any number would feel like "enough" - BUT thank goodness life experiences change things!

Even if it hadn't gone the way it did (with Todd saying #3 will be the last one and me feeling that I should support his decision), at this point I know there's NO WAY I could have any more. It just wouldn't be right to put myself or my family through that.

Now maybe when Anndra turns 5 and goes to school, I'll wish for a moment or two that I could have a baby in my arms again. If anybody knows what to do when THAT happens, let me know!
Ginger said…
When I dating Loren, I thought I wanted 10 kids. I essentially grew up an only child. I wouldn't recomment having just one....but I guess you don't have to worry about that!

wow, I've been trying to make this decision right now about our family size. It's easy for me to say right now (when I have a baby creating havoc as he's learning to crawl and pull up and walk) that we're done. But I'm scared that there's more spirits up there waiting for me to say "come on down". But meanwhile, I'm scared that I can't emotionally deal with how I feel grumpy all day most days because of my children. And how I have so much to learn, like how to be happy through the day, and like patience and how to control my temper and how to hold in my swear words! And then again, I'm scared that I phyically won't be able to get pregnant again when I finally make that decision to go ahead, because Brian took a lot of trying and waiting. That's hard.

It's all sooo hard...
all great thoughts so far, thank you. mainly I'm trying to dig through this supposed "cultural norm" in mormon land of having "large-ish" families. do we feel pressure because everyone else is doing it? IS everyone else doing it?

What I'm trying to do is plan my family according to MY needs and capabilities. and turns out I'm falling short of my somehow-thought-up-long-ago-vision of myself. but maybe that was unrealistic? OBVIOSULY unrealistic? and maybe it's more important to focus on striving day-to-day thriving and stop worrying about the end of it all just yet?

these are just more thoughts. I'm just so happy you would comment; I feel wrapped up in a warm-discussion-through-comments blanket.

more from me, always, later!
Kari said…
I'm not usually much of a commenter but you know how much I struggle with this question myself! I always thought I would have four kids. Even number, hopefully less of a chance for someone to get left out that way, and a big family but not TOO big. At this point we may be done with half that. I know Blake for sure feels done but I'm just not sure. I know I question all the time whether any wavering I do has more to do with the mormon world pressure to have lots of kids than what is actually meant for MY family. I wish I knew the answer, let me know if you figure it out! =)
Jenneka said…
Hey, me again. I think we all periodically go through the painful process of letting go of what we expected our lives to be.

Although I agree that many Mormons feel pressure to have lots of kids, it seems to boil down to the idea that we're EXPECTED to have a certain size family. In other words, we think if we have fewer children than we're SUPPOSED to have then we'll disappoint everyone (such as our Heavenly Father, our parents, all our past primary teachers, YW leaders, bishops, etc... our current LDS friends, our siblings, ourselves... even the future children we imagine ourselves having).

So my feeling is that the only way anyone can make a REAL decision in this area is to let go of ALL those expectations (including the ones we placed on ourselves when we were little and thought we'd grow up to be SuperMom)...

I know, easier said than done, right?
More good stuff. I find it interesting that we as women still get this "large families" vibe from living within the church culture, and yet the church leaders haven't specifically said anything about it for many, many years.

For me, it doesn't even have to do with my real life. Instead, it is all in the hear say. Because when I see sister so-and-so at church with lots of kids, I can see "OVERWHELMED" written all over her face, and that's enough to remind me that I'm happy with what I'm already overwhelmed by at the moment. But when I hear that so-and-so is pregnant again, or I see it on a blog where all is cheery and bright, I think to myself, "Well, if she can do it (and make it look so easy), what's the matter with me?"

Some would say that I should stop looking at blogs. But it's a funny catch 22, because often I'm not there primarily to just look at the family and lifestyle. Usually I'm led there because of the creative arts going on (be it sewing or kids crafts or photography) and seeing the "happy family" is just a byproduct. Never before could I see so many happy, successful mormon women using their talents so fantastically (and so publicly) while ALSO mothering several children. In my heart of hearts I know they have normal, trying lives too. but it's hard to be mature enough to believe it.

Having you guys comment has been refreshing, because I know many of your back stories (or you are brave enough to share some of them here, because we are friends). I know that our families aren't perfect, and that we really are just trying to do the best with what we have been given. That's why I wanted to start this forum in the first place.

And one more thing for this time. Everyone who has commented so far is still somewhere in the "young mothering years" if you ask me As in there are still kids at home and/or opportunity for more kids in the future. But if (and when) someone like my mom comments, she'll tell you that having MORE than what she planned originally was one of the best things that ever happened to our family. Our current favorite family quote is, "I need Emmy (my 15-yr old sister). I NEED EMMY!!"

So I realize that life experience will also mold this type of conversation/discussion deeply. And I shouldn't get too set in my ways, or too disappointed in my own abilities/success in mothering just yet.

I wish Brandon could be here to summarize. He is much more brief.
Angie said…
You know Michelle, you shouldn't be too hard on yourself. You wouldn't believe the things I've learned from watching you at our play dates. And these are things to do (not the type when you learn what not to do) to help the kids be happier and have more fun while they learn to get along. Every time my kids want something the other one has, they have to ask and then wait for two minutes if the other one is not ready to give it up. That I learned from you. It's a life saver.

As far as number goes? Hmmm... that's a toughy. We always talked about 4-6 kids. Now we lean more toward the 4 end of that range. (I don't know how many more times I can handle being pregnant. Yuck!) All in all, though, I realize, you don't have to know how many you are going to have... not yet. Just be willing to have the children the Lord wants you to have. How do you know? I remember a long time ago... I think I was pregnant with Jessica at the time, you mentioned that you just didn't have that bug telling you it was time. If you get that bug, and you know it's the spirit, then listen to it. For some, 1 or 2 is the best number of kids. For others it's 9 or 10 or more. I firmly believe that as long as you are striving to do what is right, you will have no more, or less children in your family than the Lord wants you to have. Isn't that how all of our blessings come in life? Why would children be any different?

(Even though I said "you" so many times in there, I didn't mean for it to seem like I was trying to tell you what to do. It was more of a you in general. :) )
alliehoopes said…
1. Ginger, I can't imagine you being grumpy or impatient or having any sort of a temper

2. I think kids for sure have a how-much-they-take-out-of-you value. I could say that nicer like how-much-they-stretch-you-and-make-you-grow but either way. For instance, sanity-wise I could probably have 2.3 Lily's in a family and be maxed out (haha) but then like 5.8 Max's. And I don't think this should sound like you need to fill up to a certain quota or something. Or even that you should feel the need to have a whole herd if you have easy kids. Just that everybody is totally different so it's hard to say. And no one in the world knows Lily like I do so no one else knew how it would have ruined her had Max came any sooner than he did (4 years later).

3. The thoughts about if there are kids up there waiting for you makes me think about Lost kind of. Like whatever happened, happened. I really don't think that little Jimmy (who will be in this story the baby that was supposed to be in our family but I opted for not) is going to be up in heaven frantic to find some other family to join because we abandoned him. That didn't really make a point, I just like Lost.

4. In addition to all being young mothers do you think our opinions might be skewed based on all being friends with Michelle? Meaning I think you are smart and good and responsible in paying attention to your kids and the earth and being nice to maybe all the friends you collect are a little like that too? Not that that's a bad way to have a conversation...just another part to consider perhaps. Some even smaller little sub-cultural norm.

Rae said…
I like alliehoopes's number 4, and I agree.

I don't know that I have much to add to what's been said, as we're only just about to add number 2 to our lineup. We've had some experiences and I guess what you'd call revelations that have led us to believe that three is our magic number. In my family, too there's a bonus kid that we can't imagine life without.

I don't usually feel much pressure to have a large number of kids. It's just not been a big desire of ours. Add to that the trouble we've had getting, staying and just being pregnant... Somedays I swear I could have stopped at one.

Like bungee jumping and other extreme sports, I admire those who do large family mothering well, but I know it's not for me.
Kristen Miner said…
All good thoughts. When I find myself looking at others mothers, I soon realize that they do not have my talents. Maybe if roles were switch I would have her number of kids too but ultimately each family number is unique. Back in the day, tons of kids were needed to help run the home and farm. I don't have a farm and I enjoy running my own household. Sure, kids can help eventually when they are old enough. So the standard many years ago formed into high volume of offspring. Times have certainly changed. In this economy it can be hard for a large family to live happily. Parents become stretched mentality, physically, emotionally, sexually, and financially. (And yes, I said sexually.) Too many balls juggling in the air can lead to unhappiness. And I am pretty sure another name for the Plan of Salvation is the Plan of Happiness. Heavenly Father wants us to be happy on earth and for eternity. As for those children we sometimes feel we were meant to have, I believe we will have them. It just might not be here on earth.

That being said I am the only child of divorced parents and I spent way too many holidays with me and just one other parent. Personally, I want four children to make tons of noise every holiday. (Four is a lot of noise compared to my one.) I maybe would be happy with three if my next is a boy. However, my mind cannot handle old numbers very well. I am very left-brained and love things in order. So an old number would drive me nutty. I have always felt like four is a special number for me. But ultimately we will evaluate the situation with Heavenly Father when/if a third/fourth one comes around. And it won't for a while either. We plan to do some spacing. I want my body back for a while. We want to relish in our sweet boys for a while. We want to watch them grow. Then maybe in three years we will have two more close.
Kjerstin said…
I have another thought on this, but it's more like a short novel so I'll email you the story! :) Just have to say, one more time, you're the best and WILL make the best choice for your family because that's what you do. And you do everything well.
I think I wrote this post to display how awesome you guys all are. Allie, LOST comparisons are genius. Rae, mothering large families as extreme sporting, incredible. Angie, the reminder that God is on our side, so wonderful. And Kristen, great comments about happiness, and not juggling too many things at once. holy cow I am the QUEEN of that. we are ALL the QUEENS of that.

and ALL the rest of you that commented before my other, less highlighting responses, thanks for the truths and the praise.

apparently I needed a little help from my friends on this one.

and maybe this is enough, but I'd love to hear from more of you. these little gems have just been fantastic, each said uniquely through you. bomb.

ps--annie was SO DANG HARD tonight as we had people over for dinner. They were here almost 3 hours. she cried straight for almost 3 hours. brandon had to go out and buy me a piece of cheesecake. because yes, I am a stress eater. it's the only way to drown out the residue of screaming sound bytes left in my brain, even after she's in bed asleep.

And I ALWAYS want to say stuff like that on my blog and now FINALLY there's a place. :)
Trish said…
By way of introduction, I've been reading your blog for some time now, but have never commented! :o) I saw your blog off my sister-in-law's (Brenda C.) and knew Brandon a little bit and took lots of institute classes from your dad, but somehow never got to know you in person.
However, I've been thinking about this topic lately. Maybe it's just that stage of life!
My mom had eight kids and growing up I always thought I would have somewhere close to that number. I had a good experience growing up with so many siblings. We have been very lucky and have been able to have kids when we wanted. Currently, we have four kids, two girls, two boys (even more lucky!) and feel that we are done. There are SO many factors that have gone into this, my husband, life experiences, our life's challenges, what we feel is right...
Sometimes I think that if I were perfect and my husband were perfect and our lives were perfect, we could have 10 kids and everything would still be perfect. :o) However, I've had to come to terms with the fact that we are not perfect and our lives are not perfect and the number of kids I thought I'd have may not be the same number I will have or should have. On the subject of cultural pressure too, I actually feel like I haven't felt a lot of pressure from other LDS people about family size. A few of my friends are done at two or three kids. I've had a few people ask when we're having more, but that's about it. I think the most pressure I feel is from myself and the disconnect from what I thought (prekids anyway) a great mom was (patient, wonderful, PERFECT, with ALOT of kids) to what is my reality (not so perfect, out of control mom to four).
Lillie said…
I'm late to the conversation... and it's too late in the night for me to write as long as I'd probably like... but I do think it's so interesting how most of us seemed to think we'd have more than we will. 4-6 was our range too. Probably just because my family had 6 and I liked my family. Seemed simple. NOT anymore.

I hate to say it, and I know there are a LOT of variables that go into my family, but I realize, now that we're adults, that we are not all as close as I wish we were, and as you know, we certainly aren't all on the "path" that my mother would have liked. I know that can happen no matter what--- but no body tells us we have to have tons of kids. We don't HAVE to make our life way harder to prove anything. Nobody reminds me of this more than my own mother... and I am the 5th of six which is another issue... hmmm...

But I can't help but think there just MIGHT be a number that's too large for some of us-- a number at which we are stretched just a little too thin and may be more likely to skip some crucial details that add up to that family we want to become. My biggest concern is not having enough energy/time to put into each of them to instill all of those values I find SO important. I do always wonder which number we'll feel like ---"phew, let's quit while we're ahead."

It's getting late and I'm not sure if I'm making any sense. But bottom line, I think it should be kind of simple. I think you should really WANT to have a baby before you decide to... if you're the deciding type. (pretty sure you are. :)) I think that if you're not longing for it, there is NO reason you should feel like you should be longing for it. Maybe in a different phase of life, when you know you're there for good, in a bigger space, etc... you'll want to. Maybe not. Maybe you got Annie because Heavenly Father knew you'd pay attention to your feelings and not crowd her out with a litter. Now I really don't know what I"m saying. Am I making this too personal? hopefully I'm late enough that no one else reads this crazy comment.
ha! looks what I just found in the August Ensign--such a mormon thing to do: have a question, look for inspiration, find it!

or just a great coincidence. either way, pretty awesome.